What the world needs now is more Harry Potter. At least that’s what HBO Max is hoping as rumors swirl of a live-action series.
It’s fair to say that a lot has changed since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone premiered in 2001. It’s been twenty years–yes, you read that correctly–and the kids are all grown up. We lost Professor Snape (Alan Rickman), Uncle Vernon (Richard Griffiths), and Ollivander (John Hurt). Neville Longbottom and Dudley Dursley both had epic glow-ups.
We’ve also had to reckon with the controversial views of J.K. Rowling and the complicated legacy of a world that was perhaps not quite so magical as we once believed.
Mixed Reactions to Rumored Harry Potter Series
With production delayed on the third Fantastic Beasts film–due in part to the firing of Johnny Depp–HBO is allegedly eyeing a different way to keep those Harry Potter dollars flowing. Yesterday, Variety broke an exclusive story about a live-action series in “very early” development at HBO Max.
Though no writers or talent are currently attached to the project, sources say conversations have taken place with multiple writers on the potential series. There is no word yet on what the focus of the show would be or what part of the “Harry Potter” timeline it would focus on should it move ahead.Source: Variety.com
The news was met with mixed reactions. Fans seem to be divided into a few different groups, with some who are simply excited to see a live-action series that will expand or revisit the world of Harry Potter. Others are understandably skeptical about the rumor, wondering if there’s anything left to mine in that world.
Some fans want to see a faithful adaptation of the books, including all the stuff that was cut from the film series–hello, Peeves?!–while others want a prequel or even brand-new characters.
One of the most vocal groups on social media are former fans who don’t want to give any more money to J.K. Rowling. After the author repeatedly made her views about transgender women clear on social media, she faced a major backlash.
In fact, Buzzfeed ran a post featuring fan reactions with a disclaimer that they do “not support discriminatory or hateful speech in any form” and encouraging readers to donate to the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Warner Bros. Issues Denial–Or Did They?
Variety also reported that Warner Bros. and HBO Max denied the rumor. “There are no Harry Potter series in development at the studio or on the streaming platform,” representatives told the outlet.
Now, it’s possible that the wording of that denial–“no Harry Potter series”–could mean that there’s a series in development set in the Wizarding World but not explicitly featuring Harry himself.
HBO Max needs to do something now that Game of Thrones is over. They’ve struggled to get a prequel series off the ground, cancelling the first spinoff after filming a pilot.
A different prequel called House of the Dragon is rumored to still be in the works, with a second series called Tales of Dunk and Egg recently announced as well. Meanwhile, Netflix, Amazon, and Disney are cranking out buzzworthy, bingeable content at a breakneck pace.
The streaming platform is struggling, even with the high-profile release of Wonder Woman 1984 to bolster their subscriber base. They need a surefire hit–but is Harry Potter still a safe bet?
Related: Why ‘Wonder Woman: 1984’ Was a Bust
Could a Marauders Series Save the Wizarding World?
A Harry Potter live-action series could be enough to cement HBO Max’s place in the streaming pantheon. One of the most popular fan ideas seems to be a show about the Marauders during their time at Hogwarts–that’s Harry’s dad, James Potter, as well as his buddies Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew.
Presumably, a series set in this era would also feature Harry’s mom, Lily Evans, and a young Severus Snape.
After the final book of the original series wrapped, J.K. Rowling has seemed to struggle to expand on the existing canon. First, there was the awkward retcon (that’s retroactive continuity) about Dumbledore’s sexual orientation and the bathroom etiquette at Hogwarts.
Then there was the curious decision to turn one of Harry’s textbooks into a five-film series set in 1920s America. The Fantastic Beasts franchise made multiple missteps and may never make it to five films.
If HBO Max does decide to move forward with the series, they’ll have to contend with an increasingly disillusioned fanbase. This could be the streaming platform’s Mandalorian… or it could be a steaming pile of dragon dung.